Courtroom No. 401 in Varamin, a city in Tehran province, sentenced a woman on July 17 to choose between imprisonment or spending a month washing corpses – a ritual involving the genitals and anal area – in Iran’s largest cemetery: Behesht-e-Zahra in the capital. The “crime” that earned her this punishment was her driving her car without the hijab, According to Iranian media in exile Activists shared a copy of the ruling on social media. Another court in Tehran also sentenced a female doctor a few days ago for the same reason to clean the Ministry of Interior for 270 hours if she did not want to spend two months in prison.
Like these two women, Other Iranians have dispensed with the hijab – compulsory since the age of nine – They are sentenced to imprisonment or unusual penalties, often accompanied by an obligation to undergo psychiatric treatment for alleged “antisocial personality disorders”, the only “symptoms” of which are not covering their hair. on the Iranian website Vaclapress Another ruling was re-issued by a third criminal court in Tehran last week, in which failure to wear a headscarf is defined as “a contagious mental illness causing sexual degeneration.” The accused was sentenced to two months in prison and paid six months of psychiatric treatment.
There are only two months left before the anniversary, on September 16th, On the beginning of the anti-regime protests that erupted after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish girl Mohsa Amini in police custody. – He was arrested in Tehran by the morality police for improperly wearing a headscarf – The Iranian authorities are intensifying repression against many women who no longer hide their hair, a gesture of civil disobedience that sustains the desire to change some of the demonstrations that the regime has harshly stifled. At least 500 people have been killed by members of the security forces and paramilitary forces, according to Iranian NGOs in exile, and More than 22,000 were arrested. Seven men were hanged regarding the protests. one of them, In public, with crane.
The latest official move to force Iranian women to wear the hijab again came to light on July 16, when a police spokesperson confirmed that the morality police had once again deployed to the streets to detain these women, Seven months after a regime official hinted at his alleged disappearance, An advertisement that the Iranians greeted with disbelief. On July 15, a viral video on Iranian social media showed a terrified teen screaming “help” and “help” as an Iranian female police officer tried to drag her into a police van by grabbing her wrists.
This is Iran today and this is how the morality police arrested a teenager for not wearing a hijab. Mahsa Zeina Amini was taken in this way, and then killed. Where are those journalists who enthusiastically reported on the abolition of the morality police? #WomanLifeFreedom pic.twitter.com/xndXlnnkSB
– Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (AlinejadMasih) July 15, 2023
Lawyer and women’s rights activist Shadi Sadr, co-founder of the NGO Justice for Iran, explains via email from her exile in London that the “main reason” for the resumption of deployment of this police force dates back to 16 September. With two months left until the anniversary of Gina’s death [el nombre kurdo de Mahsa] Amini, the regime intends to avoid another wave of protests during that anniversary. They plan to achieve this by suppressing women and spreading terror in the entire nation.”
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This lawyer – who was sentenced in absentia in 2010 in Iran to 6 years in prison and 74 lashes for defending human rights – believes that the regime in her country “intends to convey to those who participated in the protests the message that despite more than 500 deaths, thousands of injuries, numerous arrests, enforced disappearances and executions, their efforts have not yielded results. Even the small feat of being able to go out without wearing a headscarf has now been cancelled.”
The threats have happened in recent months, recalls al-Sadr, who hints at how this happened “The attempt to intimidate women by identifying them with cameras on the street has proven futile.” Then, they resorted to hiring [paramilitares] Basij or other plainclothes troops in cities, which depicted women without veils And they informed the police. Now, as a last resort, they’ve reintroduced the morality police to the streets.
The Iranian regime’s strategy of classifying women without the veil From psychopaths it extends to figures from the world of culture. Courts have also ordered two famous actresses, Afsaneh Baijan and Azadeh Samadi, to undergo treatment for alleged “antisocial personality disorders”. The first was also given a suspended two-year prison sentence, while the second will not be able to use her social networks for the next six months, according to Iranian human rights organizations in exile.
Another translator, Leila Blokat, was sentenced to ten months in prison, four of which were firm, two years of working as an actress, and five years of using social media for posting a picture of herself wearing only a hat. Artist Mohamed Sadeghi was arrested at his home on July 16 for criticizing the police’s return to morality during a live video broadcast. Iranian activists fear that he will be accused of “promoting homosexuality” because he painted nails in the photos.
The modernity conveyed by the image of a man with nail polish in an Islamic society It contrasts with the extreme conservatism of the Iranian regime. Exiled US political scientist Saeed Golkar, in an audio recording on WhatsApp, highlights the chasm between this “Islamic regime” and an “increasingly secular” society where an increasing number of women are “willing to go out without a headscarf”.
The Islamic Republic has already lost in its project to Islamize society in order to achieve an Islamic utopia. they [el régimen] They know that civil disobedience will continue, but they don’t care about the population; What they want is to satisfy the small social base that supports them,” says Golkar. With measures such as the deployment of the morality police, the political scientist says, They try to “capitalize on religious feelings” and secure the support of that religious and conservative base, When one of the holy months of the Islamic calendar, Muharram, has just begun, and at the end of July, Ashura will be celebrated, one of the most important religious celebrations of the Shiites, the majority in Iran.
The expert asks: “Will she achieve her goal?” And she replies: “I see that it is very difficult for a woman to return to the previous situation.” Lawyer Al-Sadr agrees: “The brave Iranians are still determined not to return to the situation they refer to” before the Mahsa [Amini]Since the return of the morality police, many women have shared their photos in public without headscarves, with a statement: We will not return.
Defying the compulsory veiling law, a woman defies the objections and chants of religious extremists in Iran, showing them her finger as she walks. Women continue to protest against the state’s forced rule of veiling by not wearing it on the streets of Iran. pic.twitter.com/u2UrmHJ3Ka
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) July 12, 2023
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